tv CNN Newsroom CNN January 8, 2011 3:00pm-4:00pm EST
not be correct. it's going to take a while to get everything solidified, for families to be notified of those that were shot. they want to hold on to that information until they can let the families know what's going on first. >> is there any way to know whether we're dealing with more than one shooter? >> you know, i do not know at this point. i'm not privy to the investigation. i just know from general circumstance and a couple of conversations with those who are on their way down there that, you know, the initial information about one suspect as they understand it is correct and, of course, the first thing law enforcement does is contain and confirm the scene, make sthur there's no more threat, treat those wounded, get them transported and try to preserve the scene as much as they can. because obviously the evidence is critical to any further investigation and prosecution. >> what evidence could there be on the scene that would aid you in the investigation? >> well, there's going to be evidence obviously physical evidence, you know, the gun, anything that was done, any kind of injury where any kind of other device may have been used or any other vehicle was used.
they're going to go ahead and obviously interview everybody, try and determine the history of tinges, why this happened, why this person did what they did. so there's going to be a lot that's going to contribute to the evidence both at the scene and in terms of background investigation and further investigation. >> andy, stay with us. is it the top of the hour. this is martin savage at cnn world headquarters. we are bringing to you breaking news coming out of tucson, arizona. there has been a shooting that has taken place at a grocery store. we have been told that at least a dozen people railroor more han wounded. there are reports of fatalities coming from law enforcement and eyewitnesss on the scene. at that event dl-- there was an event. congresswoman gabrielle giffords was holing a congress on the corner, basically a get-together with constituents. it would have been made public. she would notify people she'd be there, her chance to communicate with the people she represent nz the district. she is a democrat.
and she has been representing since about 2007 that area. she would have been sworn in like other members of congress just this weekend. she had returned for the first time back to her constituents to talk to them. conflicting accounts, it we do know she has been wounded. the hospital says she was shot in the head and is currently undergoing surgery. there are reports that as many as perhaps six other people have died. we are hearing that the suspect is now in custody, and that is pretty much where things stand at this particular moment. i want to bring back andy hill. andy, as they begin this investigation, will the fbi take the lead? >> you know, the fbi and the local agency will begin together. they'll work side-by-side. it will be a joint investigation. at some point or another, depending upon what decisions need to be made, obviously the federal jurisdiction would take over in terms of the possible suspect. but they're going to have to work together and figure it out as they go.
fortunately there's a great working relationship between all of these agencies, and obviously because the incident occurred in tucson at that location tucson is already doing the initial investigation. the fbi will join them, offer assistance and they'll work together. then as they go along they'll determine how to split it up, if there's going to be any changes in jurisdiction and how that will go. obviously it's a major issue and the federal issue as far as the congre congresswoman will take certain precedence with the federal agency that investigates. >> andy hill, a retired phoenix police officer, joins us on the telephone. i'm going to turn to kate bauld win. she joins us from d.c. kate, you have more information for us. >> one element i'm sure you've already talked about, gabrielle giffords' husband is a nasa astronaut. he astronaut mark kelly. speaking with nasa officials i'm told that this weekend mark kelly is off-duty so he's on his own time on his own schedule. so they couldn't comment on his
personal activities or travel at this time. but he is based in houston where at the moment he is working and training as a nasa astronaut. he is currently assigned and scheduled to take off on sts-134, an endeavor mission, with a target launch date of april 1, 2011. there's just a little bit that i'm learning from nasa about at least where her husband has been at the time. of course nasa says they could not comment any further, could not comment at all on anything having to do with the congresswoman, only giving just kind of the whereabouts and the latest on what astronaut mark kelly has been doing. their relationship, marty, as you know has been a bit of a fairy tale news story we've all covered. congresswoman sitting in the bleachers at the kennedy space center during the launch when he was then commander of the mission taking off in i think back in 2008. i know we did several stories on
it. just now giving us an opportunity to check back up and see where astronaut mark kelly is today. we'll keep checking in on that. >> there are a number of families that have received troubling phone calls. we'll continue follow that. kate, thanks very much. we want to take you from the sound from jason pekau. he is an earwitness. he heard the shots at this grocery store in tucson, arizona. he came running out and he saw a horrible scene before his eyes. this is what he described to us. >> what i nifrt heafirst heard, about 15 to 20 gunshots in the parking lot. i came out immediately. i saw people running, screaming towards where the shooting happened, everyone screaming that it was gabrielle giffords. i did see them take her away on a stretcher to the life flight. she was moving from what i saw with my own eyes. and right now i just see a bunch
of people leaving on stretchers and life flights flying out of here at the moment. >> i imagine people there including perhaps yourself are in a state of shock. >> yes. from what i'm being told from people that had seen it that she was shot point-blank in the head by the shooter and then after that basically all chaos broke loose. there was some bullets that went through the window into the safeway that i can see. how many people were hurt i have no idea. >> stay with me, jason. we had an update from the northwest medical center from tucson where a spokesperson said the congresswoman arrived on scene and was shot in the head and is currently undergoing surgery. so that is good news in the sense that it refutes some of the earlier news that had come in to us. representative gabrielle giffords among those wounded at a shooting that has taken place in tucson, arizona. we want to play for you now some
sound from jeff rogers he's with the pima democratic party. this is as he spoke to our affiliate there, kgun in tucson, arizona. here he is. >> oh, we're bringing in grief counselors and people to talk to all of our democratic party volunteers. people are pretty upset to hear the various stories we're hearing out there right now. >> yeah. now, we were talking also about just how people had to be very, very careful because all sorts of rumors are starting to circulate. >> we have. we've heardor rumors to six people dead to nobody dead to congresswoman in surgery to congresswoman didn't survive. we've heard all kinds of rumors. nobody knows what to believe around here. i think all we know for sure is that some rogue gunman shot a lot of people. >> what do you think of this very situation, that something like this could happen in this country today? >> there's just a tremendous amount of anger right now, a lot of people fomenting that anger.
we think it's time to tamp that down a little bit and for us to have civilized discussions about our disagreements so we don't encourage people to behave in this kind of manner. >> what do you think the fallout would be from a situation like we saw today? >> well, i don't know. we maybe need to reexamine a lot of things, for instance, one of the first things on the table at the state legislate tur this year is putting guns in schools. how crazy is that, given what we've seen here today? and i think we just need to have a more civilized discourse in our politics in this country. this state as well. >> there are going to be a lot of discussions like that coming from jeff rogers, pima county democratic party. as a result of what has transpired at a shopping center in a grocery store just outside actually of a safeway in tucson, arizona, where we have been told a number of people have been shot, unconfirm eed reports of deaths. eyewitnesss say they do see bodies, and among those shot was congresswoman gabrielle giffords who was holding an event at the
grocery store, a mete and greet with their representative, a common thing for members of congress. we had this statement coming from john boehner, speaker of the house. "i am horrified by the senseless attack on congresswoman gabrielle giffords and members of her staff. an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. our prayers are with congresswoman giffords, her staff, all who were injured and their families. this is a sad day for our country." jacqui jeras is standing by, she's been looking at the lay of the land which can play importantly, especially in relation to hospitals when people are in need of treatment. jacqui? >> right. we'll go to google earth. it will show you the area we're talking about. this is in the foothills, and this is on the north side of tucson, arizona. we'll zoom in and show you the intersection and the safeway grocery store where the shooting took place. this is a very busy
intersection. i understand this whole area has been closed off. there are a number of different chain store nz the area as well as restaurants, things like a honeybaked ham, a bank, a bagel store as well as the grocery store. this was a very congested area on saturday morning, people are getting out, doing their shopping and doing that sort of thing. and back behind in this area, this is a suburban neighborhood. now, as for the medical center, if we zoom back out for you, we're told that the congresswoman was taken to university medical center right in this area and that a couple of victims were also taken to the northwest medical center. so this is all east of interstate 10 on the northern side of tucson. marty? >> jacqui jeras giving us a look there from up above as to where this shooting took place and where the help could be found, that being of course transportation to area hospitals. we want to update you and let you know there is a news conference that is expected to be coming shortly from the northwest medical center in
tucson, that coming to us from the spokesperson there. we are not quite clear whether this is just a news conference to update the number of people that are brought in, there are a number including the congresswoman. we understand at least one child has been brought in as well as a number of other people. they're all in serious condition and all undergoing surgery at this time as the hospital is working under emergency conditions. we have now some sound from judge keith barth. he spoke with kgun, and he is a friend of the congresswoman. let's listen. >> we met when she started her campaign and i started mine in '06, grass roots type connection down here in santa cruz county. and she was a shining star, always, always there, always caring, always willing to listen to anybody about anything. and just had the right attitude. >> when you were out on the
campaign trail, you got to spend quite a bit of time with had er. is this something she would enjoy, the one-on-one when she could meet voters and members of her district? >> she was made for that position in every sense ever the word, every sense of the word. again, she always had time for anybody, and looked into just about anything you would ask her to. you could agree to disagree with her, and try to work anything out between the parties. >> when you guys were campaigning this past fall there were a number of hot-button issues that were always being talked about. was security ever a concern when you were on the campaign trail in november? >> no, it wasn't. again, she would always give us h and anybody the time of day from anybody a to z. she never showed any type of
apprehension about that, although looking back in hindsight, 20/20, it tells us all to be a little bit more careful. >> that was judge keith barth who spoke with kgun, an affiliate there in tucson, arizona, a friend of representative gabrielle giffords. she is among those who were shot at a grocery store. she was holding a congressional event, a meet and greet with her constituents when the gun fire broke out. she is in surgery as are a number of the victims. her condition is described as extremely serious with a gunshot wound to the head. i want to bring back tom fuentes. tom, would there be security traditionally at this kind of public event for the congresswoman? judging by the silence, i would say that tom is not there. we'll take a break and be back with more in a moment.
i'm martin saverth from atlanta. we're covering breaking news and rolling coverage from tucson, arizona. a shooting, among those shot congresswoman gabrielle giffords. she was holding a meet and greet talking to constituents. it would have been a typical event right up until the first shot was fired. we have now an interview that was made earlier. i spoke to jason pekau. he was an earwitness first to the shots fired and then came out and saw the scene afterwards. here's what he described to me. >> what i first heard, i heard about 15 to 20 gunshot nz the parking lot. i came outside immediately, did not see a vehicle or any people fleeing of the i just saw people run, screaming toward where the shooting happened. everyone screaming that it was gabrielle giffords.
i did see them take her away on a stretcher to the life flight. she was moving from what i saw with my own eyes. and right now i just see a bunch of people leaving on stretchers and life flights flying out at the moment. >> i imagine people there including perhaps yourself are in a state of shock. >> yes. from what i'm being told from people that saw it, that she was shot point-blank in the head by the shooter and then after that basically all chaos broke loose. there was some bullets that went through the window into the safeway that i can see. how many people were hurt i have no idea. >> and we have heard reports from law enforcement that a suspect has been taken into custody. we don't know any more than that. we don't know motive and we don't understand if there are possibly others that could be involved here. we did get a statement, actually i spoke on the phone with a spokesperson with the northwest
medical center in tucson. she was talking pertaining to gabrielle giffords' condition. she was in serious condition, she was in surgery and did suffer in fact a bullet wound to the head. there are a number of other people there in serious or critical condition, including a child, and that they, too are undergoing surgery at this particular time. i want to -- kate balduan win join us in a moment with a statement from the white house. first i want to read you this statement that has already been released from speaker of the house john boehner. it says this -- "i am horrified by the senseless attack on congresswoman gabrielle giffords and members of her staff. an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society and our prayers are with congresswoman giffords, her staff, all injured and their families. this is a sad day for our country." kate balduan is standing by in our d.c. newsroom.
kate? >> hey there, marty. we just got a statement actually from president obama coming straight from the white house. i want to read you that in part. we just got it. it says in part, "this morning in an unspeakable tragedy a number of americans were shot in tucson, arizona, at a constituent meeting with congresswoman gabrielle giffords. while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away and that representative giffords is gravely wounde eewounded." it goes on to say, we do not yet have all the answers. what we do know is such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society. i ask all americans to join me and michelle in keeping representative giffords and the victims of this tragedy and their families in our prayers. that's the latest coming straight from the president, straight from president obama. marty? >> all right. that just mirrors other statements that we've had coming in from other officials, but of course this is coming from the president of the united states, and he does at least confirm in that statement that a number of people have been killed and that
we do know already that the congresswoman has been gravely wounded and is undergoing surgery. what we're standing by for as everyone is standing by is for a news conference we anticipate should take place sometime this hour. that will be coming to us out of northwest medical center in tucson, arizona. what we're expecting is of course an update on all the conditions of those taken there. there could also be perhaps law enforcement who could give us an idea of exactly what they know as to what actually transpierd. at about 10:00 this morning local time, about noon our time, where congresswoman giffords was holding a meeting with her constituents. we want to take you now to local coverage, kboa in tucson, arizona. let's listen. >> threats that were made in her offices, but for her to say, i will not go out there and do my job and be with my constituents because of this, no, never. she was a -- she is fearless and horribly intelligent. god willing, she'll be doing
that for us for a long, long time. >> certainly every single member of congress has to be looking in at what's happened here together and wondering and worrying. how do you think this is going to impact your job, your duties, your life long term? i know i'm jumping way ahead. but what repercussions -- >> it's very hard because you're in the middle of shock but at the same time you have to, as members of congress or speaker our leadership has to understand that the tone and the tenor of what we sawlected officials and how we debate and how that discourse happens has to contribute to a place where it is civil, it is human, and it is protect protective of each other. if there's a lesson to be learned -- and it's a horrible
lesson -- people listen to us. we need to set the example that we can disagree and disagree in a way that is not mean-spirited, hateful, and so full of anger that people feel they have some sort of permission to treat their elected officials as fodder. i don't think that's the way it should be. so the lesson to be learned is what we say matters and how we say it and how we act it absolutely matters. >> let me ask you this. this was a congress on your corner. it was very much all about how she operated, this sort of type of event. would you yourself want to conduct these types of events? would you add security? what would you do? >> you know, i would certainly want -- i would certainly insist on more security. i would want it there. i think what's happened now with
this horrible tragedy that is of a national proportions, it -- that we all -- all of us have to understand that our accessibility is important, our ability to talk and deal with our constituents is critical, but that we must also know that there is security and a safe place for us to be conducting that accessibility. that's just the reality of the times, and unfortunately it might be a statement on the politics of our time. >> congressman, have you heard from any other members of congress in the hours since this happened? >> yeah. we've had calls from secretary felise making sure everybody was okay and of course her deep regrets for her colleague and
hoping that everything works out for gabby. my good friend mike konda calle. but we're all in the same state of shock. why and how could this happen, and how could we make sure it doesn't happen again? but for the giffords family and for her fine staff, it is a tragedy and a sadness way oust proportion that i can't even fathom. >> representative grijalva thank you so much for giving us the perspective from the politicians' point of view. >> and you're just listening and watching there kvoa as they were talking to a representative in the religion reacting to the news. again, if you're just joining us, there's been a shooting that's taken place at a grocery store, a safeway, in tucson, arizona. a number of people have been
shot, and there are reports that some have been killed. and we know among those who were shot was congresswoman gabrielle giffords who was holding an event there at the time. a number of people have been transported to a nearby hospital and those people are either in serious or critical condition. however, eyewitnesss on the scene also say there were bodies that were taken away as well. tom fuentes, he is our contributor to cnn and special ie specializing in security. tom, i want to ask you, first of all, as we just look at these images coming in now from capitol hill, flowers that are being laid outside of congresswoman giffords' office, i should also point out that her husband mark kelly is an astronaut and he is currently we are told on his way in an aircraft from houston to tucson, arizona. he is there, of course, to get as close as he can to his wife at this time. but, tom, regarding the
investigation now, who takes the lead and how does it begin? >> well, all the agencies, marty, will be working very closely together. the fbi will have the lead jurisdiction because it's an attack on a member of congress, but all the agencies will work very closely. one of the key factors now will be to make sure that they identify correctly the person that's in custody, if that is the person that was the shooter, follow up on probably searches at that person's residence, examination of his computer, who he may have been in e-mail contact with, telephone contact, other records indicating whether he is alone or whether he aspires to a particular political belief or maybe had issued some type of threat statements or public statements on the internet. so that part of the investigation will continue, but all the agencies will work very closely together and down the road here the determination will be made as to whether the u.s. attorney's office in arizona
will witake the prosecution or whether they want to defer and let the state or local thor authorities prosecute. >> hold on a second. i want to read another statement we're getting from the capitol hill police. it says, the u.s. capitol police are directly involved in this investigation. as more investigation is developed, it will be provided. in the interim, all members and staff are advised to take reasonable and prudent precautions regarding their personal security. tom, i would imagine that's a pretty standard thing you would notify people, correct? >> yes, it would be. in this case, we don't have someone hunting her down at her residence or, you know, chasing her down that way. we have a very public event in a public location. there probably were no magnetometers or any type of screening at this rally. so she's extremely vulnerable to an attack. if you'll recall during rallies held last year, we had people carrying assault rifles walking around at rallies with president
obama. so we have, you know, a lot of nuts in this country. we have a lot of people who are disturbed and unfortunately there are plenty of guns for them to use to take action on their beliefs. >> the breaking news at this hour we are following coming out of tucson, arizona, where there has been a shooting outside a grocery store at an event held by congresswoman gabrielle giffords. she is among those wounded. there are reports of fatalities. a number of people including the congresswoman have been life flighted to nearby hospitals. she's undergoing surgery at this time and suffered a bullet wound to the head. there are a number of other people being treated at the same hospital, and they are undergoing surgery. we expect that there will be a news conference coming up shortly. let's take a break, have more in a moment. more than $50 million can be earned by schools just like yours! buy participating products now, to earn your school's share of more than $50 million!
congresswoman gabrielle giffords is among 12 people shot at a grocery store just hours ago, that according to a democratic source. there are unconfirmed reports that there are also fatalities. representative giffords was holding an event with her constituents at a safeway store shortly before the shooting happened. that occurred arp noon eastern time, 10:00 local. giffords' injuries are described as serious but her condition is unknown. she is currently undergoing surnlry at this time. other members of giffords' staff were also at that event. there are unconfirmed reports that her staffers may be among those injured. giffords has served as a chairman of the house space and air naught irks subcommittee and holds seats on other committees. i want to read to you now -- actually, before that i want to take you to jason pekau. he is a person who i spoke to just shortly after the event occurred, and his description is pretty powerful. let's listen to that. >> what i first heard, i heard about 15 to 20 gunshots in the parking lot.
i came outside immediately, did not see a vehicle or any people fleeing. i just saw people running, screaming towards where the shooting happened. everyone screaming that it was gabrielle giffords. i did see them take her away on a stretcher to the life flight. she was moving, from what i saw with my own eyes. and right now i just seen a bunch of of people leaving on stretchers and life flights flying out of here at the moment. >> i imagine people there including perhaps yourself are in a state of shock. >> yes. from what i'm being told from people that had seen it, that she was shot point-blank p in t head by the shooter and then after that basically all chaos broke loose. there was some bullets that went through the window into the safeway that i can see. how many people were hurt i have no idea. >> now i want to read to you a statement that comes from the capitol hill police. it says, "the u.s. capitol
police are directly involved in this investigation. as more information is developed it will be provided. in the interim, all members and staff are advised to take reasonable and prudent precautions regarding their personal security." this of course after a congresswoman was shot in tucson, arizona, as she was appearing at a public event. it was simply to meet with constituents. it would have been publicized. people would have known in advance it was going to happen. the shooting took place at 10:00 local time, a little after noon eastern time, at a grocery store in tucson, arizona. speaker ever the house john boehner has issued a statement as well. i'll read that to you. "i am horrified by the senseless attack on congresswoman gabrielle giffords and members of her staff, an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society." we're going to go to -- i'm going to break off that statement just because i want to go to the phone line right now.
who's joining us? jason on the grouegen with the y sheriff's department. >> this is not jason. this is it bureau chief rick castagar. >> yes. >> i can tell you that around 10:00 this morning we had 911 calls came in in mass to the sheriff's department, and we have discovered that we have 18 individuals who were shot at a gathering that involved representative gabrielle giffords. she was having a small political gathering. we have one individual in custody. we have six deceased individuals, a number of individuals including ms. giffords who was gravely wounded at university medical center here in tucson -- >> we are talking to rick
castagarr, the bureau deputy i belief with the pima county sheriff's department. >> that's correct. >> you had some breakup. that's why i interrupted. >> that's the basic information i can provide you. we are really working a dynamic incidence here as with we have a number of witnesses here and other victims who have self-reported their injuries, have shown up at up to four different hospitals here in tucson, arizona. currently there are five deceased individuals in front of the safeway and certainly we're k concerned about those who have also been injured. we -- >> he just goes in and out. that's why we have this break, rick. i'm wondering quickly if there's anything you can tell us regarding the suspect, whether this was a rifle, a handgun or anything like that? no, i'm afraid -- we've lost rick castagar with the pima county sheriff's department. let's go to kate joining us once
again from the cnn washington bureau. what can you tell us? >> hey there, marty. a couple of things. there's obviously a lot going on. you have so much information coming at you. one thing i want to make sure we reiterate for our viewers, information that was obtained by cnn producer from the u.s. capitol police. one bit of that statement, that message you had read a bit of, marty, also that statement does confirm from the u.s. capitol police that the suspect is in custody. so something again to point out to our viewers as we continue to watch this developing story. again, i can also tell you we have received a statement from house democratic leader nancy pelosi. in a statement she calls this a terrible act of violence, an attack on representative gabrielle giffords, a sad day for our country. i'll read in part a little bit of the statement, also as we're getting it just now on our blackberries. in part, it says, my prayers and the prayers of all members of congress go out to her husband,
captain mark kelly, their family and all of the staff and others who are victims of this horrible attack. leader pelosi goes on to say, congresswoman giffords is a brilliant and courageous member of congress. coming to washington the views of a new generation of national leaders it is especially tragic she was attacked while she was meeting with constituents whom she serves with such dedication and distinction. so one of the many statements that we are receiving as you and i have been discussing now hearing from former speaker of the house nancy pelosi, now democratic leader of the house pelosi as well as the president just air short time ago. >> we are also anticipating a press conference coming up in a short time. it's going to be coming from the -- well, you can see. here are the images coming via kvoa as people begin to gather. we understand this is at the medical center where a number of the wounded are being treated, including the congresswoman. as you can see, people are gathering here so we are waiting to find out when exactly this will take place. we'll take a break and come back
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we we continue to follow breaking news here at the cnn sefrnlt i'm martin savage. this is coming to us from rick kastigar with the pima county sheriff's department. he confirms now there has been a shooting at a grocery store just outside in tucson, arizona. 18 individuals shot at a small political gathering. there are 6 people who have died and a number of individuals, including congresswoman gabrielle gifford, who has been gravely injured and she has been life flighted to a nearby hospital. we'll be standing by. there is a news conference that we are anticipating will begin shortly where they should update us on the condition of the congresswoman and the other victims that have been brought there, perhaps we'll also learn
more regarding the investigation, at least the preliminary rounds of the investigation. i want to go to jerrold nadler. he joins us from our new york bureau. he knows, of course, congresswoman giffords. sir, thank you for being with us. just tell us what you have heard so far. >> well, the only thing i have heard is from cnn and other news agencies. apparently gabby was seriously injured, shot in the head, and is in surgery. six people were killed and others gravely wounded in this terrible attack. and obviously we just can pray for gabby, for congresswoman giffords, to recover. >> as a member of congress, you yourself of course have gone to events like this, i presume. >> sure. >> and does it worry you? >> all the time. we're always in public. >> does it worry you? had the thought of possibly this happening ever crossed your
mind? >> yes, it has, but you have to put it in the back ever your mind because you can't function as a representative in a democracy without meeting the public and meeting your constituents. this is part of what we have to do. >> and as far as congresswoman giffords, you know her. describe her to us. >> gabby is a very, very wonderful, perky, friendly woman, young woman from my perspective certainly. she's obviously very popular back home to get elected the way she did in what's not a terribly democrat-friendly district. she's friendly to all people. she's a wonderful woman. >> obviously we can't help but look at what has been going on. there's a lot of controversy in congress these days. there's been a lot of tempers and there have been a lot of heated debates. do you think in any way the national discussion and the national temperament could have weighed into what happened? >> well, we don't know.
apparently they have someone in custody. we have no idea what his motivation was, but we do know that congresswoman gabrielle's headquarters was shot at during the campaign last year. we do know na death threats were made against her. and we do know, according to some people i've heard from arizona on tv today, that the rhetoric in arizona has been pretty violent. and whenever you have violent political rhetoric, there could be some nut who will take up and reach a conclusion that the speakers didn't want. >> do you think in any way this could affect the political discourse of our country as a result of what's happened? >> well, i certainly hope that people who are thinking of making intemperate or violent statements will think twice and that we will remember that in politics we have no enemies. we have political opponents who disagree with us busht they
disagree with us in the context of presumably everybody wanting to do what's best for the country and the people in it and there may be disagreements over that, but it's certainly no reason to attack them personally, either rhetorically or god forbid physically. >> when you go to these events, do you have security? >> no. no, we normally do not have security. >> would this cause you to rethink that? >> i don't know. we'll have to think about th obviously. but again you don't want a situation where people cannot approach their members of congress or their state legislators or city council members and chat with them or make suggestions or question them. >> that is essential, isn't it? that's the whole form of our government, that you represent me or you represent individuals from your constituency. >> yes, and there's modern technology. you can hold a teleconference, a town hall meeting with several thousand people over the
telephone. some people dshg -- you can't entertain sech700 questions in hour, but i think there has to be also the ability to talk to people personally. it will be a great tragedy if we were not able to do that. >> gerald demand in additinadle you very much. we thank the representative for speaking to us. dana bash, i want to bring you back. i know we have people racing into our bureaus and racing to places they need to be to provide the information. dana is one of those who has made it in, was one of those first on the phone with us. let's go back to first of all what you're hearing, reactions in washington, to what has happened, the shooting. >> as you can imagine, they're absolutely shocked, horrified. deidre walsh, our congressional producer was telling me on the
way in she was getting calls from her sources crying. and it is not a surprise. this is obviously a tragedy beyond comprehension, beyond comprehension. and one of the things that i'm also hearing from sources is that they're a little bit concerned for aides, for what their bosses should do. there was -- you read it on the air just a short while ago -- a notice that went out from u.s. capitol police at 3:13 eastern. i think that would probably be about an hour and a half after we started reporting this, that members and staff are advised to take reasonable and prudent precautions regarding their personal security. i talked to one democratic aide who was very upset saying, i just don't know what to tell my boss. this is before this came out. they're still not sure. i just got a notice from senior republican source in the house who said that the new republican speaker john boehner is now working with the house sergeant at arms and others to try to send out another notice to members of congress so they know what to do. because there is a lot of obviously sadness and shock and horror but fear.
fear right now. >> members of congress, i mean, as we were just discussing there with the representative from new york, you have to meet with your constituents. yeah, there are technical means of doing it, but there's nothing better than face-to-face. >> of course. >> yet what we may overlook is the fact how extremely vulnerable they are. >> it's true, and for obvious reasons you have covered security issues, so many of them overs years, marty, you know this as well. you know, generally we are asked not to talk so much about what security members of congress do and don't have for this reason. but i think when you sort of see the senior members of the leadership, you can see their security detail with them. they do have security. but as i think -- if a member just said it, i think it's fine for us to say it, too. look, they're just like you and me, most of them. unless there is a specific threat, a specific reason for a rank and file member of congress to have specific security,
generally they don't have it. so that is among the many thingsz i think that is going to be looked at very differently now. but it's hard. you're talking about 435 members of the house, 100 members of the senate. that is a lot of personnel and people across the country to keep safe. >> all right. dana, hold on for us, please. let's get to jennifer johnson, the arizona democratic party chair. she joins us on the telephone. ms. johnson, thank you for being with us and tell us what you know about the circumstances. >> you're welcome. i'm the communications director, by the way. i'm here in tucson at the university medical center. we are awaiting a briefing, as you know. it was just delayed slightly again. i can tell you that today has been devastating for all of us and yet we're holding out hope because with with all these conflicting reports throughout the last couple of hours, the
most recent reports we're going to hold on to that, send our prayers to the congresswoman, her family and all the others who were affected today. >> and we, of course, will hope right along with you for just that very same reason. i'm wondering, though, what does this chill, if that's the word, send through not just democratic party but politics in general in arizona? >> well, at this point i can tell you not a single one of us is speculating about that because all we care about that is what happens right now and that the congresswoman and these others pull through. that's where all of our energy, thoughts, prayers are directed. we aren't speculating about anything politically at this point. we just want to hear good news. >> right. and we will hope to hear good news as well. jennifer johnson, with the democratic party in arizona, thank you very much for joining us. h let's take a break. we'll be back with the latest information right after that.
we continue to follow breaking news coming out of tucson, arizona. there has been a shooting taken place outside of a grocery store there. it was actually a political event that was taking place. congresswoman gabrielle giffords boss holding a meet and greet session to talk to her constituents when gunfire erupted 10:00 local time, and the reports from the sheriff's department say that 18 people have been shot and 6 killed. the gunman reportedly has been taken into custody. congresswoman gabrielle giffords and a number of other people have been life flighted to
northwest medical center in tucson and at this hour she is undergoing surgery. we are waiting there for a news conference. we are expecting to be updated. we got a police presser going on right now. let's go right to it. >> we know that the event was in front of the safeway? >> there's a porch, and it was located there. there were a number of american flags. there was a banner that said representtive gabrielle giffords for congress. those types of things. there were also posters, flyers, other tables that had material on them. >> did the shooter come from out of the store? >> i don't honestly know that answer. i'm only going to take two more questions, folks. [ inaudible question ] >> there is an employee who was
very seriously injured. last question. [ inaudible question ] >> please understand this is a dynamic event and it's still evolving and i wanted to give you some semblance of what we know has transpired and what really is releasable. i'm sure that you realize we can't always release all the details even though we know some of that that you want to know. the sheriff will be sheer at 6:00 and will be sitting here with other law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation and we will go over this entire story and there may be more information where we learn between now and then. that's only a few hours from now. okay, thank you very much, folks. >> you've been listening to a conference trying to clarify some information coming in. we had spoken to him earlier just a short while ago. he told us that there were 18
people that had been shot in this incident, and six people are dead. and we know that congresswoman gabrielle giffords is undergoing surgery at this time in a hospital and we're anticipating to get a press conference going there shortly. our dana bash is with us and dana, go ahead. >> reporter: marty, we reported earlier when we heard about this tragic news that some of congresswoman gabrielle giffords's staff were injured. and we are now being told by two democratic sources that her district director, the aide in charge of her district, is dead as a result of this horrible shooting. so, again, her district director is dead, that from two democratic sources. we should point out as we have been all along that this is from sources who have been told about this, but that obviously this is a chaotic, chaotic situation, and we are still waiting for more information and more updates on all of the
information that is going on with the people who have been shot and injured and who we are talking about here. but this is the latest information about at least one terrible tragedy when it comes to her staff. >> of course. you actually had spoken to the congresswoman just yesterday, correct? >> that's right. you know, it's one of the great things about covering congress is you get to talk to the people you cover, and that means that when there are votes going on, members of the house and the senate, they come off of the floor and they chat. and that was what happened yesterday. i just happened to run into gabby giffords coming off the house floor after voting on the health care repeal legislation. she just came up and said hello and was talking about her break, and was actually talking about what a wonderful break shed a. of course, she always has a tough re-election battle. she is, as we've been talking about, a moderate democrat from a very conservative district in
arizona. so it's never easy for her. this was no different. so she was very happy to get the break during the holidays and she was telling me that she went to rome. she said she took a last-minute trip to rome with her parts, and that she was able to get into midnight mass at the vatican. she was also telling me when she came off the floor that she was excited about the fact that one of the things that the new congress did was they read from the constitution for the first time in history on the house floor, democrats and republicans did that. and she mentioned that she was very excited to do that and she read the first amendment and she wanted to make sure that reporters knew that she was very happy to do that. >> right, right. the timing of this, this comes just after congress, new congress sworn in, and widely known that we were talking about a contentious congress with a lot of contentious issues coming up. there was an outline of what the debate was going to be from republicans and democrats.
do you think this changes things of what's going to happen in this new congress? >> that's a good question. in terms of the issues, it's hard to see it changes. in terms of the tone and tenor of the debate, it's hard to imagine that it won't change it a little bit. i mean, these are partisan times, but you've heard me and my colleagues report on all of the statements that we're getting in across the board. this is not a partisan thing and this is very scare kri. so just to somebody who covers congress, it would be nice to see -- unfortunately, it would be horrible because this is a tragedy, but it would nice to see bipartisanship in some way, shape or form. but we'll see. you also point to another thing, marty, is that she -- when times were very, very, very strained when the health care bill was being debated in congress. many democrats got their offices
vandalized and they were very scared in terms of security. she was one of them. back in march of last year, she had her office in her district vandalized and she was one of them who basically got threats because of the way she was thinking about voting on the health care legislation. >> dana bash, thank you for your insight. stand by. we're going to go to ed henry in a minute. but first i want to read a statement coming from homeland security secretary janet napolitano. and if you could roll up on prompter, i can take a look at this. here's the statement right here. "i am deeply haddened by reports that congresswoman gabrielle giffords' chief just have john roll and others were attacked this afternoon in tucson, arizona. there is no place in our society or discourse where such senseless acts of violence. gabby is a representative for southern arizona and she and john are dedicated public servants. the department of homeland security has offered all possible assistance to the fbi and the sheriff's office who are leading t